Saturday, August 17th, 2019

How much is that Bucks arena really going to cost Walker?


Ryan Lovelace of the Washington Examiner takes the Bucks arena funding story national with an article on the political costs for Governor Scott Walker. Lovelace interviewed me for the article:

Conservatives do not want to repeat past mistakes. James Wigderson, who writes for a free market think tank in Wisconsin called the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy, said the era of recall elections in Wisconsin began long before Walker triumphed in a 2012 recall election. The first state official to be successfully recalled was former state Sen. George Petak from Racine in 1996. Petak’s recall happened after he violated a promise to constituents that he would not include Racine in the taxing jurisdiction for the new Milwaukee Brewers baseball stadium. As a result, Wigderson noted, Republicans lost control of the state senate.

“That’s part of the reason why the governor I think is having a hard time getting support for the Bucks arena, because a number of state legislators remember what happened to George Petak and remember what happened to the Republican majority in the Senate at the time,” Wigderson said. “They don’t want that kind of voter anger again.”

Despite the governor’s reassurances that taxpayers will be protected, Wigderson believes Wisconsinites will inevitably see their taxes go up because of the additional borrowing the state will need to do. Wigderson said he thinks the governor’s plan has a 50 percent chance of implementation, but that it could mean Republicans lose grassroots and Tea Party support. Without such support, he noted, it would be difficult for Republicans to maintain their recent gains.

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